Undergraduate Study in Religion

Study image
Read about some current students and recent graduates in Religion at Otago.

Studying religion at Otago

There are several ways to include papers on religion in your degree. Many students simply take one or more papers alongside their other major subjects. It is also possible to specialise in the study of religion by taking it as the major subject of the Bachelor of Arts (BA) or the Bachelor of Arts with Honours (BA Hons). We also offer minors in Religious Studies and in Buddhist Studies which may be taken with one or more other subjects. Graduates in other disciplines who are planning research in the study of religion may be admitted to the Diploma for Graduates (DipGrad). The regulations for all of these qualifications are listed below.

Papers currently on offer are listed below. Some papers above 100 level are taught in alternate years. For advice on any aspect of your course, please feel free to contact the Religion Programme Co-ordinator, John Shaver, or any member of the teaching staff.

Studying by distance

You don't need to be on campus to take our classes. In 2023, all undergraduate papers are also offered by distance. To enrol for a paper by distance, just select that option in eVision. The paper will be listed with DL (for Distance Learning) code on your programme. It is even possible to complete an entire degree by distance. Helpful information about enrolling in distance teaching can be found here.


A webpage containing essential information for both campus and distance students can be found here. We strongly encourage you to read it carefully at the beginning of your course, and to refer to it whenever you need guidance in your study.

Papers offered in 2023

Summer School 2023
New Religious Movements
Psychology of Religion
First semester
Hinduism & Buddhism
Representing Islam
Religion and Identity
Religion, Conflict and Conspiracy Theory
Second semester
Judaism, Christianity & Islam
Introduction to the Scientific Study of Religion
The Body in Asian Religions
Religion, Law and Politics
Pre-Christmas Summer School 2023
Ancient Egypt: Magic and Mystery

Click on the paper code for further information about the paper, including prescriptions and timetables.

If you are interested in including an internship (HUMS301 Internship Practicum) in your degree, please contact John Shaver to find out what kinds of placements are available for students in Religious Studies.

A full list of Religion papers (including those not offered in 2023) is also available.

Religious Studies imageProgramme requirements

Major subject requirements: BA in Religious Studies

The papers that have to be included in a BA in order to major in Religious Studies are as follows:

100-level: Two 100-level RELS papers
200-level: Three 200-level RELS papers* (54 points)
*One of DHUM 201 or PHIL 229 may be subsituted for one 200-level RELS paper
300-level: Four 300-level RELS papers (72 points)

Minor subject requirements: Religious Studies

The papers that have to be taken in order to include a minor in Religious Studies in your degree are as follows:

100-level: Two 100-level RELS papers
Plus at least 54 points of RELS papers (three papers), including at least 18 points (one paper) above 200-level

Minor subject requirements: Buddhist Studies

The papers that have to be taken in order to include a minor in Buddhist Studies in your degree are as follows:

RELS 102 and 72 further points (four papers) from ANTH 105, ASIA 101, CHIN 131, CHIN 132, JAPA 131, JAPA 132, SANS 111, SANS 112, RELS 202, RELS 209, RELS 216, RELS 226, RELS 227, RELS 309, RELS 316, RELS 326, and RELS 327, RELS 328, RELS 336.
At least 54 points (three papers) must be above 100-level, including at least 18 points above 200 level

Minor subject requirements: Science of Religion

The papers that have to be taken in order to include a minor in the Science of Religion in your degree are as follows:

100-level: RELS 110, and one of BIOA 101, PSYC 111, PSYC 112, SCOM 109, STAT 110

At least three papers from the following list, including at least one at 300-level: HIST 229, RELS 217, RELS 225, RELS 237, RELS 238, RELS 240, RELS 317, RELS 325, RELS 337, RELS 338, RELS 340


Regulations for the following programmes are available elsewhere on the University website.

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Religion Programme Style Guide

Download the Religion Programme Style Guide (PDF format)

University of Otago Religious Studies Programme